Hidden Meaning and Picture-form Language in the Writings of G.I.Gurdjieff
A Few Comments on the Remaining Chapters
Penetrating the Outer Version:
Chapter Four is concerned with some of the Tools and Techniques of Gurdjieff's written, and oral, style, a good grasp of which is necessary to understand his intent. Among other things this chapter deals with: the strange meaning of A-Khaldan (not-moon); a few of his personalized definitions, i. e., the Mullah’s unflattering definition of "learned beings"; as well as Gurdjieff's ironic use of quotation marks to reverse the meaning of a term, as "sanitarians" (sanitarians-in-quotation-marks) refers to Gurdjieff's family's quite unsanitary farm-yard pigs; as well as his use of jokes in general – as a rule, to mark passages of special significance.
Chapter Five is the application of the tools discovered in the previous chapter, through which we explore and discover the true meaning of the Sphinx-like statue of the A-Khaldans.
As preparation for the Inner Version, Chapter Six deals with the prime issue, Why The Teaching is Hidden, and deals not only with the external threats to a teachings, but also, and even more problematic, with the threats arising within each of us as individuals.
The Inner Version:
Chapter Seven jumps headlong into the metaphors and allegory of the Inner Version. Here we attempt to bring to conscious awareness the various teachings cleverly deposited by Gurdjieff into our (what is called) subconscious 'mind.' This chapter covers some of the many paired-metaphors by which Gurdjieff inculcates such knowledge into our being, such as: sun & moon; dog & cat; father & son (the age model); husband & wife (gender model); as well as various paired-constructs such as: affirmation & negation; active & passive; the two lines of development; the two consciousnesses (words & picturing); Paradise & Hell, and we observe that these paired items represent the same thought, but in different form. Bringing such previously subconscious material to the attention of our conscious mind, we realize that we already have, as Gurdjieff promised, the material necessary for the making of a new world.
A Bridge to the Inner Version:
Chapter Eight provides the bridge needed to move to the final, Inner Version of Gurdjieff's writings, and its name is "Tzvarnoharno." Following the "trail of bread crumbs" carefully and cleverly laid out by Gurdjieff, we arrive at "Herald," which provides a clear understanding of the import and impact of The Experimental Period, which is continued and expanded in Chapter Nine.
The "fallout" from the experimental Period is covered in Chapter Ten, "Ghosts and Superstitions of the Fourth Way," in which we examine some of the half-understood practices of the Russian "Study groups," and work at the Prieure itself. Some of these practices have taken the form and force of 'Dogma,' and, as Gurdjieff teaches, we cannot escape such encircling dogma until 'The Circle Be Broken.'
The Inner Version:
As final preparation for the Third Version of Gurdjieff's writings, in Chapter Eleven we examine the authorization by Gurdjieff of a few of his "old pupils," Mr.’s Nott, Orage, and Pinder, specially prepared by him for the spreading of his ideas not only by verbal means, but even by means of literature, and we look for an answer to the obvious question -- "What is that literature?" As intended by Gurdjieff, the in-plain-English material (hints and clues) found within that authorized, adjunct literature is the essential first step in digging up Gurdjieff's carefully buried dog.
From the Author, the Addendum, and the After Word deal exclusively with the Third Version – which is to say, "The Third Series" of Gurdjieff's writings, which Third Version and Third Series are, of course, one and the same. That 'dog' was deeply and cleverly buried, indeed.